Ector County in West Texas is suing an Odessa oil field services company for up to $1 million in fines for allegedly dumping thousands of gallons of toxic oil field chemicals down Odessa city sewers, KVUE said Wednesday.
Roywell Services faces charges of pumping xylene acid and other chemicals down a manhole cover on its property that connects to the Odessa city sewer.
The company services oil wells in six Texas locations, the report said.
The lawsuit alleges that three Roywell employees told Odessa police they were ordered by an unnamed manager to pump the chemicals into the manhole.
An employee told police that when dirt and rocks were thrown into the chemicals they would dissolve.
“The suit alleges that approximately 90 fluid barrels of waste – about 3,000 gallons – were pumped into the sewer in January of this year,” KVUE said.
The toxic chemicals killed bacteria used to digest solid wastes at the Odessa wastewater treatment plant.
The assistant director of the treatment plant, Ben Jordan, said xylene kills the bacteria.
The wastewater plant first noticed the problem more than a year ago.
“Once you start killing the bugs, the whole process turns off,” Jordan told KVUE.
The city was fined $6,500 fine by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for violating wastewater standards, the report said.
“The Ector County lawsuit seeks to recoup those fines from Roywell and levy additional penalties for what the company allegedly did,” according to KVUE.